March 19, 2010
OMAHA, Neb. -- The University of Wisconsin wrestling team went a perfect 7-0 in session IV to earn four All-Americans for the first time since five Badgers earned the distinction in 1984. In addition, sophomore Andrew Howe earned a spot in the 165 lbs., title match for the second year in a row.
As a team, Wisconsin is currently in fourth place with 62 points. Iowa leads all teams with 120.5 points.
Howe became a two-time finalist at 165 lbs. after winning his semifinal match on Friday night. He bested Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma, 4-1, to advance to the title match for the second year in a row. Howe, who was the NCAA runner-up a year ago, took a 2-0 lead 1:23 into match with a takedown. The score stayed that way until Caldwell escaped four seconds into the second period. Howe took control again in the third period with a takedown with 1:47 to go. He added riding time for a 4-1 victory.
“It has been going pretty well,” Howe said of the NCAA Championships. “I’ve been getting some takedowns, been getting my offense off. I feel like I’m wrestling [well].
“[I’m] Believing in my leg attacks. Last year in the finals -- and most of last year, actually -- was just a lot of hand fighting and beating the guy up, but I realize you’ve got to score points to win.”
Howe now moves on to face a familiar foe, Dan Vallimont of Penn State. They have already met twice this year, with Howe winning 7-2 in the dual matchup and 3-1 in the Big Ten Championship semifinals. Howe also beat Vallimont last season, 3-2.
Three Badgers won two matches in the session to all earn spots in the consolation semifinals. The wrestlers can now finish as high as third and no worse than sixth.
Redshirt freshman and No. 8 seed Tyler Graff became a first-time All-American at 133 lbs. Graff defeated Mike Grey of Cornell, 13-5, and then beat No. 5 seed Borislav Novachkov of Cal Poly, 2-1, in a tiebreaker.
Against Novachkov, Graff escaped in the second period to go up 1-0. He then let Novachkov escape at the beginning of the third period to tie things up. The match moved to overtime and neither wrestler scored in sudden victory. Novahckov was unable to escape in his 30 seconds, but Graff took just three seconds to escape for the 2-1 win.
Graff took control early against Grey, scoring three takedowns in the first period to lead 6-2 after the first three minutes. Starting in neutral in the second period, Graff scored a takedown with 1:01 remaining. Grey escaped to make it 8-3 after two periods. Starting the third period on bottom, Grey escaped eight seconds into the frame, but Graff took him back down with 1:15 to go. Another escape by Grey was followed by another takedown from Graff with 12 seconds to go. With 1:25 of riding time, Graff came away with the 13-5 win.
In the consolation semifinals, Graff meets Franklin Gomez of Michigan State, the No. 3 seed. Gomez defeated Graff, 10-4, in the third place match at the Big Ten Championships earlier this season.
Senior Kyle Ruschell became a two-time All-American with a 4-3, tiebreaker win over No. 6 Matthew Kyler of Army and a 3-1, sudden victory win over No. 5 Kevin LeValley of Bucknell.
After a scoreless first period against LeValley, Ruschell escaped three seconds into the second period to lead 1-0. The score stayed that way until LeValley escaped seven seconds into the third period. The 1-1 match then moved to sudden victory where, with five seconds left, Ruschell earned a takedown to win 3-1.
Neither Ruschell nor Kyler scored in the first period of their matchup. While Kyler was able to escape in the second period, Ruschell did the same in the third period to force overtime. The first overtime passed scoreless, while Kyler earned an escape with 21 seconds left in the first tiebreaker. Ruschell matched him though and earned an escape in the waning seconds of the second tiebreaker. After another sudden victory period went scoreless, Ruschell was awarded a point after Kyler was called for locked hands. Ruschell escaped a second later to take a 4-2 lead. Kyler escaped in the fourth overtime, but it was too late as Ruschell advanced 4-3.
Ruschell advances to face No. 5 Frank Molinaro of Penn State. The two have met twice this season. Molinaro won the first meeting, 6-5, to snap a seven-match winning streak for Ruschell. At the Big Ten Championships, Ruschell pinned Molinaro at 4:27 to take third place.
In the sixth round at 197 lbs., junior Trevor Brandvold, the No. 5 seed, topped Big Ten rival and No. 8 seed Sonny Yohn of Minnesota, 13-7, to move on to the consolation semifinals. Trailing 3-2, Brandvold scored a reversal with 20 seconds left in the first period to take a 4-3 lead that he would not give up. Two nearfall points plus an escape by Yohn made it 6-4 after the first period. Brandvold started down in the second period but escaped to go ahead 7-4. A takedown with 39 seconds left in the stanza gave him a 9-4 lead. The third period featured two more takedowns for Brandvold and three escapes by Yohn to make the final score 13-7.
Brandvold became a first-time All-American thanks to a 7-4 victory over conference foe and No. 9 seed, Chad Beatty of Iowa in the fifth round. Brandvold jumped ahead 2-0 after the first period thanks to a takedown with 13 seconds left in the frame. He then chose down in the second period and escaped six seconds in to move up to 3-0. With 1:31 left, he got another takedown to lead 5-0. With the score 5-1 in favor of Brandvold going into the third period, Beatty escaped to make it 5-2 with 37 seconds left. He got a takedown with 17 seconds left, but Brandvold escaped to lead 6-4. Riding time made it 7-4.
Brandvold now faces No. 3 Hudson Taylor of Maryland in the consolation semifinals. Brandvold defeated Taylor, 4-3, at the Midlands Championship earlier this year.
Session V gets underway at 10 a.m. (CT) on Saturday morning. Carried on ESPNU, the session will consist of the consolation semifinals as well as the third, fifth and seventh place matches.
Session VI features the finals and is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. (CT). It will be broadcast live on ESPN.